Dear Elementary School Parents
Welcome to International School Manila and the 2013/14 school year. Our names are Adam Campbell (Elementary Principal) and Michael Rourke (Elementary Assistant Principal) and we are looking forward to a productive partnership with you as we seek to make ISM a place where your child feels happy, successful and able to fulfill their learning potential.
ISM is a mission driven school, where we strive for each and every student to achieve their personal best in all aspects of their life. As the year moves on, we sincerely hope that you see our core values of integrity, service and merit become a reality for your child in their day to day learning at ISM. Equally, we hope that you see that our decision making process at ISM is based upon a very simple criterion and that is, what is best for your child’s learning.
Next week we look forward to welcoming over 730 students into our Elementary classrooms – of these, over 250 are new students, joining us from other schools either in Manila or overseas, or coming to school for the very first time! Our goal is to make every student feel safe and comfortable in their new classroom and to gain, as quickly as possible, a sense of community with their new class, and for some children, their new school and new country.
We know that a strong relationship between the home and school benefits your child’s learning. The stronger this connection is, the more trust which is gained and the more fruitful the communication which takes place. As educators, we are also humbled by the importance of the role which we play in your children’s lives and recognize that each child comes to us with his / her own unique experiences and context. We actively encourage your involvement in the coming days, weeks and months and look forward to cementing this home – school relationship. For us, a community is not a place but rather a relationship, and the strength of the relationships within our school will ultimately benefit the learning which takes place in our community.
This year we are welcoming a number of new faculty to the Elementary School, bringing with them a wide variety of educational experience and expertise to ISM. They are as follows: Randee Dewey (Preschool), Kristiana Reinsmoen (Kindergarten), Sue Kidder, Graham Laing, Kelley Brooks (Grade 1), Christine Yamanaka, Amanda Phillips (Grade 3), Sophie Waddington (Grade 4) and Lauren Erickson (Learning Support). In addition, we are extremely fortunate to have Kaillie Nagrath spending the year with the ISM Elementary in her capacity as a teaching Intern.
You will have the chance to meet with our faculty and learn more about our program at our Open House Night on Wednesday 28th August. More information about this event will come closer to the event.
Below is some information to assist you with the start of the school year:
Communication with Parents
As mentioned, we believe that positive communication between the school and home is essential to the education of our students. Our faculty all make themselves available to meet in person, and via email. In some instances it is necessary to make an appointment to ensure there is adequate time to talk properly.
Every two weeks you will be emailed with a link to our weekly communication in the form of the Parent Bulletin, which you can also find on our blog (http://es.ism-online.org).
Teachers will communicate what is happening in classrooms via a weekly email and through their class / specialist websites, which are regularly updated. As a general guiding principle, the weekly email update from your class teacher will contain information with what is happening at school, as well as reminders, messages regarding organisational matters, and other important logistical information. The purpose of the class or specialist website is to provide you with a visual insight into the learning your child is experiencing. Photographs, video clips, and short narratives will form a part of this, however as part of our technology guidelines, no student names will ever be included, and dates for upcoming events and field trips will not feature.
In order to support students and families, Mrs. Cecilia Unite will be working as our Elementary School Counselor for Grades 3 and 4, and Mr. Eugene Comer will be responsible for Preschool through Grade 2. As part of our Orientation for all families, we will be conducting a short workshop, focusing on ‘Transition’ on Wednesday 14th August, starting at 9am in the Little Theater. The morning will involve topics for discussion that include:
separation anxiety for early learners
transition and culture shock
third culture students
Orientation & Modified Schedules for Preschool, Kindergarten & Grade 1
Please refer to the links below for the staggered start for Preschool, Kindergarten (K) and Grade 1 students.
First Day of School for Grades 2 – 4
The first day of school for students in Grade 2 through to Grade 4 will be Monday, 12th August 2013. Parents are invited to take their children directly to the classroom beginning at 7:25 a.m. Please ensure your child brings his/her SECTION CARD and submits it to the classroom teacher.
There will be a brief opportunity to meet your child’s classroom teacher before the day begins. If you are unsure of the name of the teacher or the room number, you can contact the ES Office at 840 8450 / 840 8454 / or 840 8455. Faculty will also be available on the playground and in the corridors to assist students and parents as they locate their new classrooms.
School begins at 7:25 a.m. (8:25 a.m. on Wednesdays). Please ensure that your child arrives at school before 7:25 a.m. (8:25 a.m. on Wednesdays) in time for the beginning of the school day. Classroom teachers will explain the morning procedures to the children on the first day.
Please note that playground supervision is provided from 7:00 a.m. (8:00 a.m. on Wednesdays).
The school day will finish at the following times:
11:15 a.m. for Preschool (3/4 year old) students
12:00 p.m. for Preschool (4/5 year old) students
2:15 p.m. for students in K to Grade 4
All resources for students and school supplies will be issued by the classroom teacher for distribution to students on the first day of school. There is no need for students to go to the Textbook or Supply Center.
This year all Elementary students will be required to wear a hat whenever they are outside. Given the well documented medical research on exposure to sun rays, we feel that it is our duty of care to ensure that all students are adequately protected. Students may bring their own hat of choice or purchase an ISM ‘dri-fit’ sports cap from the PTA’s Bearcat Den for 250 pesos. Please note that as with all of your child’s property, please ensure that their hat is clearly labeled.
Over the next weeks, teachers will be working hard with students to establish their learning communities within their classrooms. Our goal is to create a safe and nurturing environment that every student feels comfortable within to take risks and learn together. Part of this process will involve each student getting to understand themselves as a learner and also building learning partnerships with those around them. At each grade level, students will be exploring some of the following questions at a developmentally appropriate level:
· What are the different ways in which we learn?
· How do I Iearn best?
· What role does reflection play in the learning process?
· How do I know if I understand something?
· How do I contribute to a learning community?
As always, you are more than welcome into our classrooms to gain an insight into just what this metacognitive aspect of our curriculum looks like in reality.
Parent Orientation Sessions
Over the next week your class teacher will be contacting you directly to make an appointment for an individual ‘parent orientation session’. This will take the form of an individual conference with the teacher, providing you with an opportunity to talk to the teacher about your child. It will allow you to give your perspective about how your child learns, what motivates him/her and provide the homeroom teacher with other relevant insights into your family’s context. It is a time for our teachers to listen. Our purpose with these conferences is to establish the relationship between you, your child, and his/her class teacher, which is critical to student well-being and success at school.
We look forward to a great year ahead and to welcoming everyone next Monday morning to the 2013 – 2014 school year.
Please do not hesitate to take a moment to come and visit us in the ES office,
Adam Campbell Michael Rourke
Elementary Principal Assistant Principal